Monthly Archives: August 2009

Cyclone successor of ICE?

Cyclone Power Technologies   has invented an external combustion engine with  the  same potentials  as the conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE).  The Cyclone, named after its inventor Harry Schoell, Chairman and CEO of Cyclone (Florida),  is a heat regenerative external combustion engine  creating mechanical energy by heating and cooling water in a closed-loop,  piston-based engine system.

Looking  like a modern day steam engine,  the Cyclone could be an excellent replacer for the ICE.  Our  conventional  piston engines  have been doing service  us for years in economies and societies.  It is  pumping water, propelling  boats and ships, digging holes,  generating electricity and driving cars.  It can be used  for many task, from mowing grass to delivering  mail.  In short, we can’t live without them.

The Cyclone can be built in any size and  can apply  for many purposes. It also runs on petroleum fuels and unfortunately  that  is a disadvantage.  For  it also contributes to the detoriating of  a global environment.   So a new type of engine would be developped that is more readily to alternative fuels. Fortunately external combustion is more leisurely. The flame or explosion burns intself out completely while still working to make the engine run and giving less pollution.

Some companies already have been applicated for a  licensing agreement  for production of the Cyclone.  It can be applied for many purposes ; to burn waste oil or to put waste heat to work, to use for solar thermal applications or in a military robot (EATR project) And maybe it could be applied for cars. We have electric cars and plug-in hybrids driving  around,  so why not  a car with an external combustion engine  or micro steam turbine under the hood ?

With  the Cyclone we are a step further in the technology  to decrease the global emissions.  Steam turbo generators  and micro CHP are new potentials out there waiting  to happen.  There is also a  micro steam turbine  1-15 kWh coming on  the market with a lot of potential.



WindPipe a gamechanger?

Inventor John R. Tuttle  has developped a new kind of wind energy  converter which might be a good replacer of wind turbine generators. This prototype WindPipe  is quite a bit different from the turbine generators as we know them. It has no rotating parts at all, no long churning blades or propeller and no rotating power generator hidden in a nacelle.

Vertically the  WindPipe  looking more like a crude musical instrument  with a horn-like wind capture head at one end. Because it has no spinning  blades, it  can be integrated into buildings design. It can lie on its side or lie at any angle  or in any other shape.  ‘ The windPipe can be used not only in traditional wind farm tower arrays but inside buildings and even underground with air ducted in from the winds above’  says  inventor John R. Tuttle . ‘ ‘ Windcaptures does not have have to be circularly shaped as with spinning propeller blades, capture  can be rectangular  or any other shape with the air then ducted to the energy converter system for direct energy conversion electricity.’

WindPipes  can be spaced close togheter because  there are no whirling blades.

There is no cut out wind speed. Power output in the WindPipe starts building at about 7 miles per hour of wind speed and climbs from there.  ‘Unless the WindPipe gets destroyed in a bad storm!  Vertical towers are light and easily raised up to 120 feet with a crane. All the electrical components and connections are at the bottom keeping maintenance  costs low. Also the cost of power  from the WindPipe are low. Above 14 mph, the technology is expected to produce energy from 3 to 10 times cheaper than turbines, from $3.30 per MWh to $ 0.3 per MWh, compared to the $10 per MWh of modern turbine wind towers.

It’s sounda bit  incredible but it works. But Tuttle won’t say how it’s work. So pity the inventor who wants to develop the idea into a commercial product. For getting investors interested, you have to disclose at least the principles of your invention.  He has to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) but it is not easy to find a truly interested investor  without a tidbit of information to chew on opfront.

Tuttle is master of inventions and patenting. He  is the world leading patentholder (at least 78 patents). He plans to build a 9 meter (30 foot) tall unit that can be expected to produce 900 watts of power in a 22 miles per hour breeze.  The unit could put out as much as 9 kilowatts at a stormy 44 miles  per hour. The prototype should also be prettier in white fiberglass and be more streamlined. The wind capture end will be about 3 meters, almost 10 feet in diameter.

If the WindPipe is really a breakthrough we don’t know yet. Tuttle has  to prove it. Any way there are more  inventions out there waiting to happen.

Velozzi launches micro turbine car

The new Velozzi Solo might be  a benefit for  the development of the electric car.  The crossover plug-in hybrid, manufactured bij American Velozzi,  has  an on-board micro turbine battery charger and the ability to run on almost all fuels including petrol, diesel, ethanol, brutanol, biodiesel and natural gas.  It is also  the first production car in the world that  uses a multi fuel micro turbine battery charger to recharge its lithium ion batteries.

From the start Velozzi had  in mind to build a car with its own eco-plant and it took  carbonfibre bodywork to keep its weight to a minimum while,  at the other hand wanted ‘ to create a most exquisite interior to match the exterior styling of the Solo’  according to a Velozzi statement.

‘It ‘s hard work to manufacture efficient vehicles which have antiquated types of construction, ‘ says  CEO Roberto Velozzi. ‘ Because  in fact  it  is inconceivable and counter productive. To make an efficient environmentally friendly vehicle, you need  to utilize lightweight materials to improve mpg, reduce pollution and increase safety’ .

The Solo has full speed capabilities. It should be capable of reaching 0-60 mph in less than six seconds and it should do more than 120 mpg and reaching 130 mph.

In 2007 Velozzi launched its sports car with similar technology and  hopes to have both cars in mass production by 2012.

talking about ‘smart grid’

The discussion about ‘smart grid’  never comes to an end. Even at the White House  President Obama  emphasizes to  support the development of wind and solar power and to use less energy.electriciteitsnetwerk

The future of smart grid is a world where home thermostats and appliance work automatically,  depending on the cost of power. A world where a boiler gets power from a neighbour’s rooftop solar panel and  a plug-in hybrid electric car charges in one minute at a very hot day  and the next moment sends back the electricity  to prevent  the grid  going down.

A world in which energy companies will be warned directly when a transformer  is out of order and  can choose easily among energy sources. Wind and solar energy will produce energy  from coal-burning plants and provide homes and business automatically from prearranged power agreements.

‘ The electric network will be  a  close cooperation of information technology and automation technology’, said Bob Gilligan, vice president for transmission at GE Energy. ‘ This is the energie Internet which is hunting the smart grid development. In the next ten years  there will be applications of which nobody can says if  whether we shall need them.’

Smart grid is the future for  hundreds of  technology companies and utilities and for technology there will be  $4,5 bilion  available  in federal economic recovery. However, cost estimates run as high as $75 billion  and the question is; who will  pay for the bill?

Today’s grid is an aging spiderweb of power lines that crisscross  the country. An inefficient one-way movement of electrons from power plants to consumer. The grid has to be more flexible and reliable and more easily controlling the flow of electrons. From houses and business  energy will flow and neighbours will use local power in stead of a single source.

It is important to convince people of the  benefit from smart grid.  The purchase may be  more expensive, but  through efficiency and demand reduction it will save 5 to 15 percent.  So this pays for itself.

Although a Smart Grid can save substantially on costs, we have to realize that about 60% or more of centrally generated power is wasted. So it may be a wise policy to invest also in decentralized power generation. Not only in Solar PV systems and wind turbines, but also in micro CHP (Combined heat and Power on a domestic scale). Here, virtually no energy is wasted.

Others are also worried about security.  If not very well secured, it can be a  major securety risk.  So smart grid has to be incredibly secure.  And maybe consumers will turn the thermostat down if they feel spied in their home.

Clean cars run on urine

How does this sound; using urine, the most abundant waste on earth, as the new fuel source? And, to catch two birds with one stone, it helps clean-up municipal wastewater at the same time. Urine-powered cars should be available in six months according to scientists from the Ohio University, who developed an electrolysis method to retrieve hydrogen from urine collected from livestock.


Hydrogen fuel cells are one the cleanest burning fuels ever developed. Hydrogen was, until now, taken out of water and then put into fuel cells as a gas that can power a vehicle.  The only emission that is said to come out of this fuel cell powered vehicle is water vapor. Urine’s major constituent is urea, which incorporates four hydrogen atoms per molecule – importantly, less tightly bonded than the hydrogen atoms in water molecules. By placing a special nickel electrode into a pool of urine and applying an electrical current, hydrogen gas is released. Once the urea is removed from the waste pool, a farm is left with water that is significantly less polluted than it was, with irrigation as one possible use.

One of the hurdles facing this alternative fuel source is that hydrogen gas requires high pressure and low temperatures to be stored. It becomes somewhat easier to store when it’s binded back to oxygen to create water, but even then it still requires large amounts of electricity to be released. The Ohio University scientists who developed the urine technology found that attaching hydrogen to nitrogen in urine allowed it to be stored without the strict requirements of ordinary hydrogen, and allowed it to be released with less electricity (0.037 volts versus 1.23 volts needed for water). A fuel cell, urine-powered vehicle could theoretically travel 90 miles per gallon according to the Ohio scientists.

 Some argue that hydrogen-fueled cars won’t offer a cost-effective way to reduce automotive air pollution or reduce
emissions of climate-changing carbon dioxide gas for at least several decades. Environmental scientist  David Keith is one of them. He doesn’t oppose the use of hydrogen fuel cells but argues saying it makes far more sense to first use this fuel in ships, trains and large trucks rather than cars. Such uses could achieve large reductions in air pollution without the need for the extensive hydrogen distribution infrastructure which would be required for refueling automobiles. Such an infrastructure is very expensive (approx $5.000 per vehicle or more), according to the researchers’ work. Also around 10-20% of the hydrogen would escape into the atmosphere. He says that if hydrogen fuel cells replaced all of today’s oil and gas-based combustion technologies, such losses would double or even triple the total hydrogen deposited into the atmosphere at the Earth’s surface.

Other researchers say that the use of hydrogen on large scale would oxidize when reaching the stratosphere, which would cool the stratosphere and create more clouds and, in effect, making the holes in the ozone layer larger and longer lasting. However it is not yet known on what scale this process will take place and there is also uncertainty how soil absorbs hydrogen from the atmosphere. The bottom line is that hydrogen could still be considered the far better option when it comes to competing with the toxic elements that are released into the air with gasoline burning cars. It might have its downsides but weighed against all the positives, they don’t seem to stand a chance.
It seems like we have a winner here.